COVID-19 testing provides healthcare officials with information vital to their response against the virus. By getting tested, you are not only providing information for local officials and healthcare professionals, you also learning about your infection status. Cases are not created through testing — testing serves to shine a light on where the virus is in our community. If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, contact your primary care provider to see if a COVID-19 test is right for you.
The Louisiana Department of Health recommends COVID-19 testing for any patients who are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. If you have these symptoms, contact your primary care physician for guidance. It is also recommended that you get tested if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. Close contact is defined by being within 6 feet of someone for longer than 15 minutes.
|Test Name||What it is||Results||Pros||Cons|
|Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test||
A PCR, or viral test: a sample of mucus is taken from the back of the throat or inside the nose with a cotton swab.
|Shows if you were infected when the test was taken.||Designed to be 100% accurate if sample collected correctly.||The tests must be run on a machine in batches, so it can take days to get your results.|
|Rapid PCR Test||
This test tells you if you are infected with COVID-19 at the time of your test; a sample of mucus is taken from the back of the throat or inside the nose with a cotton swab.
|Tells whether you currently have an infection.||Get test result much sooner than regular PCR, often within an hour.||The test is more expensive, less available, and may be less accurate than a traditional PCR test.|
This is the blood test that detects the presence of COVID-19 antibodies — an immune response to a specific infection.
|An antibody test can tell you if you have had the virus.||You can get your results the same day.||Only shows whether you were previously exposed. It DOES NOT tell you if you currently have the virus or if you are immune.|
what should I do after I get a covid test?
While awaiting results, you should attempt to self-quarantine in order to ensure that you do not expose others to the virus.
if your result is positive
- ○ Trouble breathing
○ Chest pain/pressure
○ Slurred speech
if your result is negative
Contact tracing is critical for quickly identifying where COVID-19 is prevalent and preventing the spread of the virus. Contact tracers help to do this by calling each individual who has received a positive test result. This is a confidential phone call.
Contact tracing attempts to determine who has come in close contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. It is recommended that individuals who have been in close contact with someone who is COVID-positive should isolate themselves in order to limit any further virus spread.
Information shared during contact tracing calls will remain confidential and in line with HIPAA requirements. If deemed necessary that they contact individuals you have come in contact with, they will not release any of your information (including your name). Contact tracing calls will be done from the number 877-766-2130; enter it in your phone's contacts for easy identification. It is important to answer all of the contact tracer’s questions honestly in order to best understand the virus’s spread.
More information about contact tracing can be found here.